The Day Of The Triffids (1981, BBC) on Blu-ray......

Bartman

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I watched the original BBC broadcast and streamed in SD from Amazon Prime (since deleted) a couple of years ago. Has anyone bought this new UK Blu-ray release and can comment on picture quality?

The are a mix of positive and negative reviews at Amazon UK. I assume because the video footage has been converted from video to film rates, the picture quality will be the same when viewed in the UK or US?

Thanks, Trevor.
 

AndyMcKinney

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Although I don't own this (but I do have the previous DVD), here's the gist of what people who have seen it are saying on Roobarb's:

1. The film sequences all exist, and were cleaned up, so good news there. Opinion is split on the colour grading. Some people seem to think it's too vibrant and not sympathetic with the original broadcast, while the majority seem to feel the 1981 telecine was probably not very good in the first place (I remember how bad some film inserts looked back in the day), and that the new transfer likely reflects what's actually there on the film itself.
2. The re-scanning of film elements includes the opening titles sequence, meaning all the on-screen text (which was video-generated) has been re-laid in. Unfortunately, they did not use the original title cards as was done on Fawlty Towers (maybe weren't available?), so the text has all be re-created. They made a close approximation, but it's not exactly the same as the original. A minor quibble for most, admittedly.
3. A "Part One" caption has been added to part one. It wasn't there on the original broadcast, though it may have been there on some of the syndicated/worldwide versions and might explain why it was added.
4. The biggest problem for many (and for myself, honestly) is that during the restoration process, someone apparently decided to "film-ise" all of the studio/videotape footage, to try to make those sequences look more film-like. So, instead of the fluid motion of shot-on-tape video, it has sort of taken the appearance of 'shot-on-film', even though it wasn't. Although I'm sure the producers at the time would've probably liked for this to have been an all-film shoot, for purists, screwing around with framerates is akin to screwing around with aspect ratios. If they'd have wanted to be as close to the original elements as possible, instead of rendering everything 25p, they could have simply encoded the whole thing (film and all) at 50i, just like they do for UK broadcasts now, and converted to 60i for the US). The film would have still looked like film, the video would have looked like video.

The previous DVD version, it should be noted, has the studio "on-tape" sequences presented as they should be, and the original captions, but does not have a restored picture. So, unlike Fawlty Towers (which used the same master for both the remastered DVD and later blu-ray), the two releases of Triffids are a compromise whichever way you go. You either get the DVD if you want the footage to have the same motion, etc. as the original presentation (but from an off-the-shelf, un-remastered tape), or you get the Blu-Ray and watch knowing the studio sequences don't look how they were originally shown, plus other (more minor) inconsistencies.

People have contacted the BBC, and they have the attitude that this was done on-purpose, so this isn't going to get fixed.
 
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Bob Cashill

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I'm waiting for Diabolik DVD or some other US source to obtain this; Amazon UK won't ship it here.
 

jayembee

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I haven't gotten this yet. It sounds compromised, but at the moment, the only copy I have of this is my old recorded-off-PBS Betamax tape. I'm not sure if it'll even still play without tracking errors. So...

I'm waiting for Diabolik DVD or some other US source to obtain this; Amazon UK won't ship it here.
Try the UK etailer base.com; price for the item is £18, and shipping is £3. Total: US$27 or thereabouts. I use them for a lot of my UK imports.
 

David Weicker

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Although I don't own this (but I do have the previous DVD), here's the gist of what people who have seen it are saying on Roobarb's:

1. The film sequences all exist, and were cleaned up, so good news there. Opinion is split on the colour grading. Some people seem to think it's too vibrant and not sympathetic with the original broadcast, while the majority seem to feel the 1981 telecine was probably not very good in the first place (I remember how bad some film inserts looked back in the day), and that the new transfer likely reflects what's actually there on the film itself.
2. The re-scanning of film elements includes the opening titles sequence, meaning all the on-screen text (which was video-generated) has been re-laid in. Unfortunately, they did not use the original title cards as was done on Fawlty Towers (maybe weren't available?), so the text has all be re-created. They made a close approximation, but it's not exactly the same as the original. A minor quibble for most, admittedly.
3. A "Part One" caption has been added to part one. It wasn't there on the original broadcast, though it may have been there on some of the syndicated/worldwide versions and might explain why it was added.
4. The biggest problem for many (and for myself, honestly) is that during the restoration process, someone apparently decided to "film-ise" all of the studio/videotape footage, to try to make those sequences look more film-like. So, instead of the fluid motion of shot-on-tape video, it has sort of taken the appearance of 'shot-on-film', even though it wasn't. Although I'm sure the producers at the time would've probably liked for this to have been an all-film shoot, for purists, screwing around with framerates is akin to screwing around with aspect ratios. If they'd have wanted to be as close to the original elements as possible, instead of rendering everything 25p, they could have simply encoded the whole thing (film and all) at 50i, just like they do for UK broadcasts now, and converted to 60i for the US). The film would have still looked like film, the video would have looked like video.

The previous DVD version, it should be noted, has the studio "on-tape" sequences presented as they should be, and the original captions, but does not have a restored picture. So, unlike Fawlty Towers (which used the same master for both the remastered DVD and later blu-ray), the two releases of Triffids are a compromise whichever way you go. You either get the DVD if you want the footage to have the same motion, etc. as the original presentation (but from an off-the-shelf, un-remastered tape), or you get the Blu-Ray and watch knowing the studio sequences don't look how they were originally shown, plus other (more minor) inconsistencies.

People have contacted the BBC, and they have the attitude that this was done on-purpose, so this isn't going to get fixed.
I do not have this, so I have no specific knowledge, one way or another.

But in regards to your 'filmize' observation, have you checked this on another player? I have two BR players, and they have sometimes treated Video content differently - one leaves the video look, the other smooths it out (the same thing used to happen with dvd players converting PAL to NTSC - not consistent).

Another thing I've noticed with BBC discs, the 'flag' that indicates whether a BR is 1080i vs. 1080p doesn't seem to work most of the time. For Doctor Who discs I usually have to change the resolution from AUTO to 1080i.
 

AndyMcKinney

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I do not have this, so I have no specific knowledge, one way or another.

But in regards to your 'filmize' observation, have you checked this on another player? I have two BR players, and they have sometimes treated Video content differently - one leaves the video look, the other smooths it out (the same thing used to happen with dvd players converting PAL to NTSC - not consistent).
As I said, I don't have this. HOWEVER, the fine folk on Roobarbs (who are incredibly nit-picky, which I mean in a good way) have checked this. Multiple people, multiple setups. This is not a player error... the entiretly of the footage on these discs is encoded progressive (not interlaced). Some of them have reported this to the BBC and the BBC themselves have told them that this was not an accident, but was intentional. They decided (wrongly, IMO, if they're telling the truth and not covering a mistake), that since the show was "60% film and 40% video", that it was "better" to try to make it all look like film. Hogwash.

Another thing I've noticed with BBC discs, the 'flag' that indicates whether a BR is 1080i vs. 1080p doesn't seem to work most of the time. For Doctor Who discs I usually have to change the resolution from AUTO to 1080i.
You must also understand that the people who restore Doctor Who (and restore it correctly, I might add) are not the same team that did Triffids. An outside firm called The Ark did the remastering work on Triffids.

As for your player and flags, depending on your player, there might be a setting to "fix" this for you so you don't have to manually switch to 1080i. For Oppo blu-ray players, in the SETTING menu, there's an option for how the player should treat interlaced content. I think it's called "De-interlacing mode" and your choices are (I think), Auto, film-mode priority, or video-mode priority. You want to leave it on video priority, since this only affects interlaced material. Your film will still look like film, but the interlaced video will look correct (most noticeable on "scrolling" end credits text, whether it plays jerky or smooth).
 

Bartman

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I'm glad this generated so much interest and thanks for your replies. I will wait for a positive review of picture quality before buying. Amazon shipping rates are horrendous at the moment, that is stopping me from placing an order for this and others. If the Blu-ray (15pounds) gets negative reviews I will default to the PAL DVD (5pounds), upscaled 4:3 PAL can look pretty good on my OLED TV. Hopefully it will look better than the SD stream from Amazon Prime, a couple of years ago. This is a great TV series, by the way, and deserves a large audience.
 

mark27b

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Thanks for this post didn't realise it had been released.

Others on the Roobarb forum aren't happy.

"There is some controversy around the new Blu-ray release. The original production was the BBC’s usual mix of exterior location filming and interior studio recording. The latter is less amenable to up-scaling and differences between the two media are noticeable including a few instances of motion blur. The filmed sequences now give the cast a rather pink complexion.

There have also been complaints about the title sequence which has been re-mastered from 35mm."

Source Review
 
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Bartman

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Thanks for this post didn't realise it had been released.

Others on the Roobarb forum aren't happy.

"There is some controversy around the new Blu-ray release. The original production was the BBC’s usual mix of exterior location filming and interior studio recording. The latter is less amenable to up-scaling and differences between the two media are noticeable including a few instances of motion blur. The filmed sequences now give the cast a rather pink complexion.

There have also been complaints about the title sequence which has been re-mastered from 35mm."

Source Review
Thanks for the Roobarb link, that site did not appear in any of my searches. It's a pity the best video restoration team was not used for this project, I assume the best team was busy on another project. I doubt it will ever be re-released on Blu-ray in better condition.

I know nothing about video restoration and have none on Blu-ray just a few UK shows on PAL DVDs.

For those that have the PAL DVD how does The Day Of The Triffids look on a good US TV (OLED, QLED, Kura)?
 

AndyMcKinney

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Thanks for the Roobarb link, that site did not appear in any of my searches. It's a pity the best video restoration team was not used for this project, I assume the best team was busy on another project. I doubt it will ever be re-released on Blu-ray in better condition.

I know nothing about video restoration and have none on Blu-ray just a few UK shows on PAL DVDs.

For those that have the PAL DVD how does The Day Of The Triffids look on a good US TV (OLED, QLED, Kura)?
I thought it looked alright, but of course, my previous copy was a VHS recording from PBS. The DVD is probably on a par from any UK show that wasn't touted as 'remastered'.

It got a Region 1/NTSC release from BBC Video as well, but is long OOP and pricey. Amazon.com (US site) has the Region 2/PAL version for less than $10.00 shipped via third-party seller.
 

Bob Cashill

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I'm not sure I understand -- I just looked at AmazonUK and they are allowing shipment of this to the US.

Or am I making a bad assumption and you not in the US?
No, I am, and thanks for telling me--the last time I checked, a few days ago, I received a message saying Amazon UK wasn't delivering at this time. (This had gone on for some time.) Looks like it is now.
 

AndyMcKinney

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I'm not sure I understand -- I just looked at AmazonUK and they are allowing shipment of this to the US.

Or am I making a bad assumption and you not in the US?
I was thinking the same thing, but also didn't want to make that assumption. I can understand, though. Until the last few weeks, there were several items that the UK site simply weren't shipping to the USA, particularly in the BD/DVD category.
 
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Jeff Flugel

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Thanks for the lowdown on this new Blu release, guys. Pity that it's been compromised, as this is a terrific serial and by far the best adaptation of John Wyndham's wonderful source novel. I still may pick this up once I see some screen shots to see just how bad I find these controversial changes personally. The Roobarb folks can be exceedingly picky about such things, Lord love 'em.
 

David Norman

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No, I am, and thanks for telling me--the last time I checked, a few days ago, I received a message saying Amazon UK wasn't delivering at this time. (This had gone on for some time.) Looks like it is now.
It's certainly possible as UK seems to have a random assortment of items that say no shipping. I see this particularly with certain studios with preorders, but usually after release they open it for ordering
 
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AndyMcKinney

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It's certainly possible as UK seems to have a random assortment of items that say no shipping. I see this particularly with certain studios with preorders, but usually after release they open it for ordering
Except for the recent examples (due to the global pandemic), the only other BD/DVD items I recall them not shipping to the USA are the items that were temporarily price-lowered for UK Prime customers.

I really wish Prime benefits were global (be a Prime member on one of the local Amazon sites, get the pricing deals on all). I do understand they cannot offer the video and music streaming across other regions due to copyright, I get that. But keeping some items exclusive to Prime customers on the local site only seems a little much if you're a paying Prime customer elsewhere in the world.
 

Bartman

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Except for the recent examples (due to the global pandemic), the only other BD/DVD items I recall them not shipping to the USA are the items that were temporarily price-lowered for UK Prime customers.

I really wish Prime benefits were global (be a Prime member on one of the local Amazon sites, get the pricing deals on all). I do understand they cannot offer the video and music streaming across other regions due to copyright, I get that. But keeping some items exclusive to Prime customers on the local site only seems a little much if you're a paying Prime customer elsewhere in the world.
I just chatted with Amazon UK asking them to send out an email when shipping costs to US return to normal. I received a confirmation email from the agent promising to escalate the issue.

I suggest you and your friends do the same for Prime benefits, make sure you get confirmation, they may listen, surely everybody wants to do more business?
 

jayembee

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Regarding Amazon UK, it might also be a question of whether it's being sold or fulfilled by Amazon itself, or from a Marketplace seller. I've come across several things at Amazon UK (as well as DE and FR) where Amazon will ship it to the US, but a Marketplace seller won't.
 

AndyMcKinney

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Regarding Amazon UK, it might also be a question of whether it's being sold or fulfilled by Amazon itself, or from a Marketplace seller. I've come across several things at Amazon UK (as well as DE and FR) where Amazon will ship it to the US, but a Marketplace seller won't.
Most UK marketplace sellers won't, but some do. It's better than it used to be. In years past, US buyers couldn't buy anything from UK Marketplace sellers, which made it very frustrating for OOP items.
 

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